Mikaela Shiffrin wins slalom opener in Levi

12 November 2016 14:29
Shiffrin in Levi
Shiffrin in Levi -
Agence Zoom

In Levi (FIN), north of the Arctic Circle, the sun doesn’t always rise in the morning, but when it does, the lights create a breath-taking atmosphere. Combine this with an action-packed slalom season kick-off and you have a perfect Audi FIS Ski World Cup day! Mikaela Shiffrin, Wendy Holdener and Petra Vlhova didn’t get distracted by the landscape today, and rocked the challenging Levi Black course to end up on the first slalom podium of the season.

Slovakia claimed a slalom podium placement again, but not with Veronika Velez Zuzulova – the runner-up of last year’s slalom standings – but with Petra Vlhova. After she skied on the safe side in the first run and ranked 4th, she managed to cruise to a 3rd-place finish in the second run, +0.75 behind the winning pace.

“We talked with my team that I have to go full gas in second run because my second run was not the best I can do. I’m happy it worked out. The good result in Sölden helped me, it’s good for my head and helps also for slalom.”

Wendy Holdener remained steady and earned her 8th career podium with a +0.67 off Shiffrin’s time. It looks like the hard work in that discipline paid off for the Swiss racer, who could already celebrate an Alpine Combined and a City Event World Cup win. It looks like she is knocking at the door of her first slalom win.

“I really wanted to go for it today, and for sure the end of last season was great, so it gave me confidence. I had to learn to be more aggressive on the skis. I really love skiing and it wasn’t easy to focus and give everything.”

However, the nine last time Mikaela Shiffrin participated in a slalom World Cup race, she took the win. And it was no different today. The US-racer is aiming to get her slalom crown back, even though she admits that she’s feeling her contenders are getting closer and closer.

"I’m always more nervous at the first race of the season, and the other girls are not going to slow down, but my coaches were very supportive and told me 'give your best and let your head get out of the way', that helped. I feel like I’m on track for the rest of the season.”

Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter, who won the slalom title last season, tied for second place in the first run but skied out in the middle section during the second run.